SNL creator: Republicans can take a joke, Democrats 'take it personally'
2008: Tina Fey as then- Gov. Sarah Palin, Will Farrell as President George W. Bush -- Photo By: Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank
February 3rd, 2014
03:00 PM ET
6 months ago

SNL creator: Republicans can take a joke, Democrats 'take it personally'

(CNN) – The creator of "Saturday Night Live" indicated in a interview that Republicans have a better sense of humor than Democrats.

"Republicans are easier for us than Democrats. Democrats tend to take it personally; Republicans think it's funny," Lorne Michaels told New York Magazine in an article published online Sunday.

The sketch comedy show, now in its 39th season, has long been known for delving into politics on Saturday nights, turning the latest gaffes or debacles into a parody–especially in election years.

While the current season has poked fun at the rocky Obamacare rollout as well as the government shutdown, Michaels acknowledged that the show doesn't feature as many policy debates as it used to.

He pointed to an example of a Piers Morgan parody in which the character interviewed A-Rod, Chris Christie, and Justin Bieber.

"We're doing more of that kind of thing than stuff about Benghazi or the new budget agreement," Michaels said. "The country has lost interest in it. I can't tell you why. It's no less important, but in some way you can't do health care more than twice, at which point there's just nothing left."

He also said President Obama, who's played by Jay Pharoah, "is probably the first president in a long time that we've been doing less of."

"Reagan was that way, too, oddly enough, until Jim Downey and Al Franken figured out that Reagan mastermind sketch," he continued. "(Reagan) was an actor, and the public already knew that, and they voted for him anyway. We couldn't find a way in."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Saturday Night Live
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Really? I guess when you have the biggest boo bs (and the AK screecher being the biggest joke of them all) pretending to be politicians while hating on the country what else can you do!

    February 3, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    Sure they do.

    February 3, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    Bet Republicans will take his word for Gold.

    February 3, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Republicans think it's funny because while SNL may be joking on them, the ultimate joke is on the population who keep electing these morons. You think Mitt Romney takes offense to calling people moochers and then being mocked behind it? On the inside, he's cracking up.

    February 3, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    The new Fox is going out of their way with the tongue bathing of the GOP.

    February 3, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Malory Archer

    Lorne Michaels MUST be joking when he says the right can "take it" and that they portray reichwing politicians more than left-wing politicians. I recall that the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was NEVER portrayed after Will Farrell left the show, and he left shortly after September 11. IMO his on-the-mark portrayal of the dauphin prince a year earlier in the "what if this guy wins" skit where he was addressing the nation from his desk in the oval office while WWIII was waging outside. His first line was, "Well, I blew up the Hoover Dam". I also recall the reichwing outrage over Tina Fey's on-the-mark Dim Bulb barbie gig! The right STILL hasn't gotten over it. That being said, perhaps what Michaels meant to say is the Dems don't provide enough fodder for SNL to parody them so they parody the party that does.

    February 3, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. The REAL TRUTH...

    yeah, the same old same old same old stuff certainly has been lame lately, but give the Krispy situation, I'd question who bristles more when subjected to parody.. .. do you not remember the cries of "foul" when Tina Fey started to portray Failin' Palin ??

    February 3, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    Really, you're doing less Obama? Funny, every single time I turn it on I see an Obama sketch.

    February 3, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    I think Mr. Michaels does not distinguish between making light of a Republican's actions, and personifying the mischaracterization of a Democrat's actions. Most of Jay Pharoah's Obama skits have actually been renactments of the right negative talking points and stereotypes of the President. It's only funny when it is parodies the truth, not the lies.

    February 3, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Yeah, uh huh, right...Jabberwocky Barbie is shining the epitome of a "good sport." What an absurd narrative you're pushing, CNN. I won't even bother starting a list on all of her temper tantrum responses to the MSM and any jokes or criticisms sent her way. Your narrative is ridiculous on its face.

    February 3, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. roro

    The irony here is that the Republicans ARE a joke.

    February 3, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    Tightie-rightie: Meh, Lorne Michaels is just another Hollywood type spouting off; what does he know?

    Wait, he dissed the Democrats! Right on, Bro!

    February 3, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. jeanht

    I don't know if Republican can or can't take a joke, but by the responses it would appear that Mr. Michaels is correct about many Democrats.

    February 3, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. jeanht

    I don't know about the Republicans but from the responses here it would appear that Mr. Michaels is correct about the Democrats.

    February 3, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Ol' Yeller

    Pharoah is an awful Obama- Tina Fey had palin pegged- this may be part of it. But, I agree with Rudy also that the parodies are only funny when they deal with actual things, like the FAUX news sketch- there really is a FAUX news show with those same characters and they really are like that to some degree... however, when the writers have to reach and create some skit based on the mischaracterizations of a person or event then it is not funny.
    That being said... The only controversy I ever read about having to do with this was the palin/Fey sketches where the right was going ballistic (it is even mentioned in the excellent movie- 'Game Change'). But they were really trying to make palin out to be the biggest victim ever... it was all they had.

    February 3, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Makes total sense for republicans not to get the joke .

    February 3, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. smith

    Boy jeanht hit the nail square in the head. Looking at the comments Micheals is spot on.

    February 3, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. guest

    cuz bill clinton was never parodied by SNL o.O

    I think the phenomenon being observed is the cast of SNL has become talentless garbage. What made the political prodies from the 90's and early 2000's was the top notch talent they had doing the parody, such as Darrel Hammond, Phil Hartman, Will Ferrel, Al Franken. The talent is just not there anymore, and the parodies have become unfunny, and the ratings of the show suffer.

    February 3, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. rs

    Conversly however- flub an interview, or get hashed in the media (you know, the news) and Republicans go nuts. Ms. Palin may forgive SNL for making a fool of her, but she'll never forgive the LSM for that dastardly trick question "what do you read"?

    February 3, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |